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COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT JOURNAL. 1988 Jan; 23(1):55-7.The local associations of Maisons Familiales (MF) in Senegal periodically conduct participatory evaluations of community projects. 2 evaluations often used include internal exercises by and for the staff, such as a written questionnaire, and an assisted self evaluation. An assisted self evaluation often involves participant subgroups discussing problems and possible solutions with each subgroup later sharing items with a national and/or a foreign evaluation facilitator. The facilitator(s) meets with all the subgroups and brings out important issues in the subgroups, then all the subgroups discuss the issues and form a consensus on what actions should be taken. The training staff at an MF center thought the program was fine based on what a few people said, but, after looking at statistics on the number of trainees over a couple of years, the staff learned that the numbers have declined. The staff then discussed the situation and learned that a barrier had developed between the training staff and villagers. As in any evaluation, one must distinguish between the subjective view (what people say) and objective reality (the actual situation using data). In another type of self evaluation, a group discussed dynamism in a village and came up with 4 different points of view. After visiting a "dynamic" and a "nondynamic" village using the 4 points as measurements, the group learned that its previous impressions of the 2 villages were not completely borne out. This evaluation helped the staff to see villagers' priorities and to listen better. Despite wanting to conduct a real impact evaluation, workers have not yet done so because they do not have time to schedule evaluations, do not have enough base line data, and do not know how to account for influences on changes in the villages other than the MF training programs.